First Time Buyer Advice

  • Pre-Qualification: Meet with a mortgage broker and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home.
  • Pre-Approval:  While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved.  With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender, subject to the home, appraisal and preliminary title report. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property.
  • List of Needs & Wants:  Make two lists. The first should include items you must have better known as needs (i.e., the number of bedrooms, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wishes better known as wants, things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
  • Focus & Organization: In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:         
    1. One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.         
    2. A file of the properties that your agent has shown to you, along with information on properties you have located in some other way, i.e. internet, real estate magazines, drive-bys              
    3. Paper and pen, for taking notes as you search.              
    4. Instant or video camera to help refresh your memory on individual properties, especially if you are attending a series of showings.              
    5. Location: Look at a potential property as if you are the seller. Would a prospective buyer find it attractive based on school district, crime rate, proximity to positive (shopping, parks, freeway access) and negative (neglected properties, noisy area) features of the area?
  • Visualize the house empty & with your decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light?
  • Be Objective: Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? 
  • Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don't forget such essentials as:         
    1. Include inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.     
    2. Have the property inspected by a professional inspector.              
    3. Do a final walk through prior to close of escrow.  You want to check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).

All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please email me or call me directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.

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